What’s on the Horizon: Parliamentary Bills Which Will Affect the Self-Employed and Small Businesses

Making Tax Digital is the biggie on the agenda for many self-employed and small businesses. However, there are some other finance bills which look set to affect you too.

In the run up to the June election, we were all focusing on Brexit. Theresa May was confident that she’d secure her majority and governmental life would continue just like the day before.

As we all know, things didn’t quite work out that way. Along came the Queen’s Speech, and in there are some little pockets of information we need to sit up and pay attention to.

Along with Making Tax Digital, we also need to keep our eye on National Insurance and Customs.

The National Insurance Contributions Bill

Government have done a merry yo-yo impersonation over National Insurance for the self-employed of late. We could be forgiven for thinking it’s off the agenda to tamper with again, but in reality this is more of a laying low. The tampering with the National Insurance classes only got dropped from the Finance Bill 2017 precisely due to the election.

A National Insurance Contributions Bill is firmly there in the Queen’s speech.

When summer is over and the MP’s return to London, we’ll hopefully find out more. Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is likely to see some more yo-yo’ing on NI contributions yet.

The Customs Bill

The other one we need to keep an eye on when summer is done and dusted is the Customs Bill. This one is needed because with Brexit, the currently applicable EU Customs Code is on the line.

The Customs Bill is being designed to ensure that we have a standalone customs regime post-Brexit, the flexibility to arrange and put in place prospective trade agreements globally, and to ensure that our VAT system will be functional with all the change.

The reality is that what the Customs Bill will mean for different businesses will likely vary enormously on the nature of them. It may not affect you at all. However, if you operate over UK borders, then you need to keep your nose to the ground on this one.

Then of course, there’s Making Tax Digital.

Making Tax Digital

We’ve already touched on Making Tax Digital, and its delay – but that’s all it is – a delay. The changes will be happening, and you need to get your books in order for when they do.

In a nutshell, Making Tax Digital (MTD) will see us saying goodbye to tax returns based on a quarterly system, and hello to a ‘yearly reckoner’ 10 months post year-end. The delays are as a result of various issues and glitches, but it’s still firmly happening. You need to know that, and you need to make sure your systems are in place to make it smooth from your end.

How to Weather the Governmental Waves of Change

Small businesses and the self-employed aren’t strangers to having their goalposts moved. However, it doesn’t make it any nicer.

Rather than digging your heals in with regards to change, put yourself in a position to take it in your stride. The simplest way to do this is to have water-tight accounting systems in place.

Kara Copple
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.